Dallas County orders residents to shelter-in-place

Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins on Sunday issued an order requiring residents to shelter in place.

The order takes effect at 11:59 p.m. March 23 and continues until 11:59 p.m. April 3.

The order states people may leave their residences only for essential activities — including to get supplies for themselves and their families or perform tasks essential to their health and safety and that of others — or to operate essential businesses, such as healthcare, critical infrastructure and retail, including grocery stores.

The order permits people to do activities, such as walking, biking, hiking or running, outdoors as long as people maintain social distancing requirements.

"I want you to think about the sacrifice of the greatest generation and the level of selflessness and determination to protecting one another that they had and I want you to make that your guidepost," Jenkins said. "I want you to be gracious to one another, but when you see people that are way too close together, you see people out in public who aren't following this, nicely remind them by saying, 'six feet.' "

Jenkins and Dallas County Health and Human Services Director Dr. Philip Huang displayed two graphics from Covid Act Now — one showing the impact of social distancing and sheltering in place efforts along with the number of hospital beds, and another with predictive outcomes after three months if those measures are taken.

Jenkins said this is why they are calling on the North TExas business community to create ventilators and personal protective equipment.

"There's not much good news or easy choices in this," Jenkins said. "God willing, [safer at home measures] and a mass production of ventilators will keep us from the specter of rationing care."

Earlier Sunday, Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson, along with executives from Medical City Health Care, Texas Health Resources, DFW International Airport, Parkland Health and Hospital System and the Dallas County Medical Society sent a letter to Gov. Greg Abbott requesting that he consider issuing a mandatory shelter-in-place order for the state.

The letter also stated that, at a minimum, Abbott recommend "safer at home" directives.

At a news conference Sunday afternoon, Abbott declined to issue a statewide shelter-in-place order, saying that more time was needed to gauge the level of effectiveness of the executive order he issued Friday.

On Saturday, Judge Clay Jenkins amended a previous order issued Monday to prohibit all medical, surgical and dental procedures deemed to be elective by healthcare professionals.

It also placed a limit on toilet paper sales — 12 rolls or one package, whichever is greater — until the supply chain meets demands.

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